www.wvgazettemail.com U.S. and World http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2016, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers US proposes forced speed limits for truck, bus drivers http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160826/GZ0113/160829625 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160826/GZ0113/160829625 Fri, 26 Aug 2016 20:06:46 -0400 Technology would prevent heavy vehicles from driving above set speed

By Tom Krisher

The Associated Press

DETROIT - The U.S. is seeking to forcibly limit how fast trucks, buses and other large vehicles can travel on the nation's highways.

A new proposal Friday would impose a nationwide limit by electronically capping speeds with a device on newly made U.S. vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds. Regulators are considering a cap of 60, 65 or 68 mph, though that could change. Whatever the speed limit, drivers would be physically prevented from exceeding it. The proposal does not force older heavy vehicles to add the speed-limiting technology, but regulators are still considering it.

The government said capping speeds for new large vehicles will reduce the 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks that occur each year and save $1 billion in fuel costs.

While the news is being welcomed by some safety advocates and non-professional drivers, many truckers say that such changes could lead to dangerous scenarios where they are traveling at much lower speeds than everyone else.

The rule has been ensnared in a regulatory maze in the decade since the nonprofit group Roadsafe America issued its first petition in 2006. The group was founded by Atlanta financial adviser Scott Owings and his wife Susan, whose son Cullum was killed by a speeding tractor-trailer during a trip back to school in Virginia after Thanksgiving in 2002. The nonprofit was later joined by the American Trucking Associations, the nation's largest trucking industry group.

Owings said he will continue to push NHTSA to force older heavy vehicles to limit their speeds.

"We are dismayed and outraged to learn the proposed rule will be for newly manufactured trucks and will not apply to the millions of trucks with which we continue to share the roads today," he said.

NHTSA said retrofitting vehicles made after 1990 with the speed-limiting technology could be too costly, and it is still seeking comments and additional information. NHTSA said it could cost anywhere from $100 to $2,000 per vehicle, depending on when the vehicle was made. Changes to some engines could also be required, increasing the costs, NHTSA said.

The government agencies involved will take public comment for 60 days, then determine the final limit and decide if the regulation should be put in place.

To James Chapman, a big rig driver from Spartanburg, South Carolina, 68 mph would be the best option and he'd accept 65. But 60 would be too big of a difference from cars that go 75 or more.

"To me it would be a safety hazard unless it slowed everybody else down," he said while refueling his truck Friday along Interstate 75 near Findlay, Ohio.

The agencies said that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 60 mph could save as many as 498 lives annually. Limiting it to 65 mph could save as many as 214 lives, and limiting it to 68 mph could save as many as 96.

The agencies said the proposal is based on available safety data and the additional benefit of better fuel economy. The cost would be minimal because all of the 3.6 million big rigs on U.S. roads have speed-limiting devices installed already, but some don't have the limits set, according to agency documents.

But Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the 157,000-member Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, said her group has opposed the speed limiters because they create dangerous interactions between vehicles as faster cars slow down for trucks. "Differentials in speed increase interactions between vehicles, which increases the likelihood of crashes," Taylor said.

Yet there is another compelling reason to limit truck speeds. An investigation last year by The Associated Press found that 14 states have speed limits for big trucks that are equal to or higher than their tires were designed to handle. Most truck tires aren't designed to go faster than 75 mph, and tire manufacturers say traveling faster than that can cause tires to fail and blow out, creating safety issues.

Most of the states with the higher speed limits are west of the Mississippi River. Of the 14, five have speed limits of 80 mph or more and allow trucks to exceed the capability of their tires. NHTSA has said the speed limiters should take care of the discrepancy between state speed limits and truck tire capabilities.

Most of the states with speed limits of 80 or above either didn't know about the truck tire speed ratings or didn't consider them. States set their own speed limits, having been given sole authority to do so by Congress in the mid-1990s.

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Italy toll rises to 247 as anguish mounts over quake http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160825/GZ0113/160829720 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160825/GZ0113/160829720 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07:24:12 -0400 By FRANCES D’EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press By By FRANCES D’EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press AMATRICE, Italy (AP) - Rescue crews raced against time Thursday looking for survivors from the earthquake that leveled three towns in central Italy, but the death toll rose to 247 and Italy once again anguished over trying to secure its medieval communities built on seismic lands.

Dawn broke over the rolling hills of central Lazio and Le Marche regions after a night of uninterrupted search efforts. Aided by sniffer dogs and audio equipment, firefighters and rescue crews using their bare hands pulled chunks of cement, rock and metal apart from mounds of rubble where homes once stood searching for signs of life.

One area of focus was the Hotel Roma in Amatrice, famous for the Amatriciana bacon and tomato pasta sauce that brings food lovers to this medieval hilltop town each August for its food festival.

Amatrice's mayor had initially said 70 guests were in the crumbled hotel ahead of this weekend's festival, but rescue workers later halved that estimate after the owner said most guests managed to escape.

Firefighters' spokesman Luca Cari said that one body had been pulled out of the hotel rubble just before dawn but that the search continued there and elsewhere, even as 460 aftershocks rattled the area after the magnitude 6 temblor struck at 3:36 a.m. on Wednesday.

"We're still in a phase that allows us to hope we'll find people alive," Cari said, noting that in the 2009 earthquake in nearby L'Aquila a survivor was pulled out after 72 hours.

Worst affected by the quake were the tiny towns of Amatrice and Accumoli near Rieti, 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Rome, and Pescara del Tronto, 25 kilometers (15 miles) further east.

Italy's civil protection agency reported the death toll had risen to 247 early Thursday with at least 264 others hospitalized. Most of the dead - 190 - were in Amatrice and Accumuli and their nearby hamlets.

"From here everyone survived," said Sister Mariana, one of three nuns and an elderly woman who survived the quake that pancaked half of her Amatrice convent.

"They saved each other, they took their hands even while it was falling apart, and they ran, and they survived."

She said that others from another part of the convent apparently didn't make it: Three other nuns and four elderly women.

The civil protection agency set up tent cities around the affected towns to accommodate the homeless, 1,200 of whom took advantage of the offer to spend the night, civil protection officials said Thursday. In Amatrice, some 50 elderly and children spent the night inside a local sports facility.

"It's not easy for them," said civil protection volunteer Tiziano De Carolis, helping to care for about 350 homeless in Amatrice.

"They have lost everything, the work of an entire life, like those who have a business, a shop, a pharmacy, a grocery store and from one day to another they discovered everything they had was destroyed."

As the search effort continued, the soul-searching began once again as Italy confronted the effects of having the highest seismic hazard in Western Europe, some of its most picturesque medieval villages, and anti-seismic building codes that aren't applied to old buildings and often aren't respected when new ones are built.

"In a country where in the past 40 years there have been at least eight devastating earthquakes ... the only lesson we have learned is to save lives after the fact," columnist Sergio Rizzo wrote in Thursday's Corriere della Sera. "We are far behind in the other lessons."

Experts estimate that 70 percent of Italy's buildings aren't built to anti-seismic standards. After every major quake, proposals are made to improve, but they often languish in Italy's thick bureaucracy, funding shortages and the huge scope of trying to secure thousands of ancient towns and newer structures built before codes were passed or after the codes were in effect but in violation of them.

In recent quakes, some of these more modern buildings have been the deadliest: the university dormitory that collapsed in the 2009 L'Aquila quake, killing 11 students; the elementary school that crumbled in San Giuliano di Puglia in 2002, killing 26 children - the town's entire first-grade class. In some cases, the anti-seismic building standards have been part of the problem, including using reinforced cement for roofs that are then too heavy for weak walls when quakes strike.

Premier Matteo Renzi, visiting the quake-affected zone Wednesday, promised to rebuild "and guarantee a reconstruction that will allow residents to live in these communities, to relaunch these beautiful towns that have a wonderful past that will never end."

While the government is already looking ahead to reconstruction, rescue workers on the ground still had days and weeks of work ahead of them. In hard-hit Pescara del Tronto, firefighter Franco Mantovan said early Thursday that crews knew of three residents still under the rubble, but in a hard-to-reach area.

In the evening there, about 17 hours after the quake struck, firefighters pulled a 10-year-old girl alive from a crumbled home.

"You can hear something under here. Quiet, quiet," one rescue worker said, before soon urging her on: "Come on, Giulia, come on, Giulia."

Cheers broke out when she was pulled out.

But there were wails when bodies emerged.

"Unfortunately, 90 percent we pull out are dead, but some make it, that's why we are here," said Christian Bianchetti, a volunteer from Rieti who was working in devastated Amatrice.

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Militants attack American University in Afghanistan http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160824/GZ01/160829777 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160824/GZ01/160829777 Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:15:11 -0400 By Lynne O’Donnell The Associated Press By By Lynne O’Donnell The Associated Press KABUL, Afghanistan - Militants attacked the American University of Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to an Associated Press photographer who was in class at the time.

Massoud Hossaini said he was in a classroom with 15 students when he heard an explosion on the southern flank of the campus.

"I went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass," Hossaini said, adding that he fell on the glass and cut his hands.

The students then barricaded themselves into the classroom, pushing chairs and desks against the door, and staying on the floor.

Hossaini and about nine students later managed to escape from the campus through a northern emergency gate.

"As we were running I saw someone lying on the ground face down, they looked like they had been shot in the back," he said.

Hossaini and the nine students took refuge in a residential house near the campus, and were later safely evacuated by Afghan security forces.

University President Mark English told The Associated Press that security forces had arrived on the scene soon after the attack began around 7 p.m. (1430 GMT) and that "we are trying to assess the situation."

Other witnesses say they heard explosions and automatic gunfire. Ambulances arrived at the campus in western Kabul, but it was not immediately clear how many people had been wounded.

Dejan Panic, the program director at Kabul's Emergency Hospital, said 11 patients had so far been admitted, 10 men and one woman. He said three were "seriously" wounded, probably from automatic gunfire.

Police spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said security forces were conducting a clearing operation to track down the "terrorists." He said it was still not clear if there were one or two attackers.

All other personnel on the campus were being evacuated, he said. He had no further details on the nature of the attack.

The Pentagon said U.S. military advisers were on the ground with Afghan security forces at the university. Spokesman Adam Stump said the forces had been embedded with the Afghan units.

The attack on AUAF comes two weeks after two university staff, an American and an Australian, were kidnapped from their car by unknown gunmen. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

The university was established in 2006 to offer liberal arts courses modeled on the U.S. system. More than 1,000 students are currently enrolled in degree courses.

The Taliban have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government for 15 years, and regard foreign civilians as legitimate targets.

Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez in Kabul and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

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Italy earthquake kills at least 159, reduces towns to rubble http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160824/GZ0113/160829780 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160824/GZ0113/160829780 Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:25:04 -0400 By PAOLO SANTALUCIA, FRANCES D’EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press By By PAOLO SANTALUCIA, FRANCES D’EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press AMATRICE, Italy (AP) - Rescue crews using bulldozers and their bare hands raced to dig out survivors from a strong earthquake that reduced three central Italian towns to rubble Wednesday. The death toll stood at 159, but the number of dead and missing was uncertain given the thousands of vacationers in the area for summer's final days.

Residents wakened before dawn by the temblor emerged from their crumbled homes to find what they described as apocalyptic scenes "like Dante's Inferno," with entire blocks of buildings turned into piles of sand and rock, thick dust choking the air and a putrid smell of gas.

"The town isn't here anymore," said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of the hardest-hit town, Amatrice. "I believe the toll will rise."

The magnitude 6.2 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome, where residents woke to a long swaying followed by aftershocks. The temblor shook the Lazio region and Umbria and Le Marche on the Adriatic coast, a highly seismic area that has witnessed major quakes in the past.

Dozens of people were pulled out alive by rescue teams and volunteers that poured in from around Italy.

In the evening, about 17 hours after the quake struck, firefighters pulled a 10-year-old girl alive from the rubble in Pescara del Tronto.

"You can hear something under here. Quiet, quiet," one rescue worker said, before soon urging her on: "Come on, Giulia, come on, Giulia."

Cheers broke out when she was pulled out.

And there were wails when bodies emerged.

"Unfortunately, 90 percent we pull out are dead, but some make it, that's why we are here," said Christian Bianchetti, a volunteer from Rieti who was working in devastated Amatrice where flood lights were set up so the rescue could continue through the night.

Premier Matteo Renzi visited the zone Wednesday, greeted rescue teams and survivors, and pledged that "No family, no city, no hamlet will be left behind." Italy's civil protection agency reported the death toll had risen to 159 by late Wednesday; at least 368 others were injured.

Worst affected were the tiny towns of Amatrice and Accumoli near Rieti, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Rome, and Pescara del Tronto, some 25 kilometers further east. Italy's civil protection agency set up tent cities around each hamlet to accommodate the thousands of homeless.

Italy's health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, visiting the devastated area, said many of the victims were children: The quake zone is a popular spot for Romans with second homes, and the population swells in August when most Italians take their summer holiday before school resumes.

The medieval center of Amatrice was devastated, with the hardest-hit half of the city cut off by rescue crews digging by hand to get to trapped residents.

The birthplace of the famed spaghetti all'amatriciana bacon and tomato sauce, the city was full for this weekend's planned festival honoring its native dish. Guests filled its top Hotel Roma, famed for its amatriciana, where five bodies were pulled from the rubble before the operation was suspended when conditions became too dangerous late Wednesday. Among those killed was an 11-year-old boy who had initially shown signs of life.

Officials initially said about 70 guests were staying at the hotel, but later lowered the number to about 35, many of whom got out in time.

Carlo Cardinali, a local fire official taking part in the search efforts at the hotel, told Sky TG24 that about 10 guests were still missing.

Amatrice is made up of 69 hamlets that teams from around Italy were working to reach with sniffer dogs, earth movers and other heavy equipment. In the city center, rocks and metal tumbled onto the streets and dazed residents huddled in piazzas as more than 200 aftershocks jolted the region throughout the day, some as strong as magnitude 5.1.

"The whole ceiling fell but did not hit me," marveled resident Maria Gianni. "I just managed to put a pillow on my head and I wasn't hit, luckily, just slightly injured my leg."

Another woman, sitting in front of her destroyed home with a blanket over her shoulders, said she didn't know what had become of her loved ones.

"It was one of the most beautiful towns of Italy and now there's nothing left," she said, too distraught to give her name. "I don't know what we'll do."

As the August sun turned into a nighttime chill, residents, civil protection workers and even priests dug with shovels, bulldozers and their bare hands to reach survivors. A steady column of dump trucks brought tons of twisted metal, rock and cement down the hill and onto the highway toward Rome, along with a handful of ambulances bringing the injured to Rome hospitals.

"We need chain saws, shears to cut iron bars and jacks to remove beams. Everything, we need everything," civil protection worker Andrea Gentili told The Associated Press in the early hours of the recovery. Italy's national blood drive association appealed for donations to Rieti's hospital.

Despite a massive rescue and relief effort - with army, Alpine crews, carabineri, firefighters, Red Cross crews and volunteers, it wasn't enough: A few miles (kilometers) north of Amatrice, in Illica, residents complained that rescue workers were slow to arrive and that loved ones were trapped.

"We are waiting for the military," said resident Alessandra Cappellanti. "There is a base in Ascoli, one in Rieti, and in L'Aquila. And we have not seen a single soldier. We pay! It's disgusting!"

Agostino Severo, a Rome resident visiting Illica, said workers eventually arrived after an hour or so. "We came out to the piazza, and it looked like Dante's Inferno," he said. "People crying for help, help."

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake's magnitude was 6.2, while the Italian geological service put it at 6 and the European Mediterranean Seismological Center at 6.1. The quake had a shallow depth of between four and 10 kilometers, the agencies said. Generally, shallow earthquakes pack a bigger punch and tend to be more damaging than deeper quakes.

"The Apennine mountains in central Italy have the highest seismic hazard in Western Europe and earthquakes of this magnitude are common," noted Richard Walters, a lecturer in Earth sciences at Durham University in Britain.

The devastation harked back to the 2009 quake that killed more than 300 people in and around L'Aquila, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of the latest quake. The town, which still hasn't fully recovered, sent emergency teams Wednesday to help with the rescue and set up tent camps for residents unwilling to stay indoors because of aftershocks.

"I don't know what to say. We are living this immense tragedy," said a tearful Rev. Savino D'Amelio, a parish priest in Amatrice. "We are only hoping there will be the least number of victims possible and that we all have the courage to move on."

Another hard-hit town was Pescara del Tronto, in the Le Marche region, where the main road was covered in debris.

Residents were digging their neighbors out by hand before emergency crews arrived. Aerial photos taken by regional firefighters showed the town essentially flattened and under a thick gray coat of dust; Italy requested EU satellite images of the whole area to get the scope of the damage.

"There are broken liquor bottles all over the place," said Gino Petrucci, owner of a bar in nearby Arquata Del Tronto where he was beginning the long cleanup.

One rescue was particularly delicate as a ranger in Capodacqua, in the Marche province of Ascoli Piceno, diplomatically tried to keep an 80-year-old woman calm as she begged to get to a toilet, even though she was trapped in the rubble.

"Listen, I know it's not nice to say but if you need to pee you just do it," he said. "Now I move away a little bit and you do pee, please."

The mayor of Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci, said a family of four had died there, one of the few young families who had decided to stay in the area. He wept as he noted that the tiny hamlet of 700 swells to 2,000 in the summer months, and that he feared for the future of the town.

"I hope they don't forget us," he told Sky TG24.

President Barack Obama, speaking by telephone to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, said the U.S. sent its thoughts and prayers to the quake victims and saluted the "quick action" by first responders, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

A 1997 quake killed a dozen people in central Italy and severely damaged one of the jewels of Umbria, the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, filled with Giotto frescoes. The Franciscan friars who are the custodians of the basilica reported no immediate damage from Wednesday's temblor.

Pope Francis skipped his traditional catechism for his Wednesday general audience and instead invited the thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square to recite the rosary with him. He also sent a six-man squad from the Vatican's fire department to help with the rescue.

___

Winfield reported from Rome. Associated Press staffers Valentina Onori in Amatrice, Fulvio Paolucci in Illica and Trisha Thomas in Pescara del Tronto contributed to this report.

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Naked Donald Trump statues pop up in cities across the US http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160819/GZ0113/160819455 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160819/GZ0113/160819455 Fri, 19 Aug 2016 11:41:14 -0400 The Associated Press By The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) - It's Donald Trump like you've never seen him before.

Life-size naked statues of the Republican presidential nominee greeted passers-by in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Cleveland on Thursday. They are the brainchild of an activist collective called INDECLINE, which has spoken out against Trump before.

In a statement, the collective said the hope is that Trump, the former host of "The Apprentice" reality TV series, "is never installed in the most powerful political and military position in the world."

The statues were created by an artist in Cleveland. They are of a stern-faced Trump with his hands folded over a bulging belly. Some parts of male genitalia are visible while others seemingly are missing.


"It is through these sculptures that we leave behind the physical and metaphorical embodiment of the ghastly soul of one of America's most infamous and reviled politicians," INDECLINE said in its statement.

Trump's campaign declined to comment on the statues.

A statue in New York's Union Square quickly drew the attention of people, many of whom posed for photographs with it, before it was removed by the city's parks department.

"NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small," parks spokesman Sam Biederman joked.

A video posted by DNAInfo showed onlookers booing and groaning as workers snapped the statue off its base, leaving the feet behind, and loaded it face-down into the back of a pickup truck. One woman yelled, "Take his nasty feet, too!"

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, when asked about the naked Trump statue, said, "That is a frightening thought. When he's wearing clothes I don't like him."

INDECLINE said statues on the West Coast were still in place.

This wasn't the group's first anti-Trump endeavor. The collective also has spray-painted a U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico, with an image of a gagged Trump.

The group's other projects have included putting the names of African-Americans killed by police over the inlaid stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and painting the words "This Land Was Our Land" across an unused airstrip in the Mojave Desert.

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Twitter unveils features to filter tweets, notifications http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160819/GZ0113/160819456 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160819/GZ0113/160819456 Fri, 19 Aug 2016 11:30:27 -0400 The Associated Press By The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Twitter has announced two new settings that will allow users to control what they see in their feeds and what notifications they receive.

Twitter says in a blog post that it has modified its notification settings to include the ability to see only notifications from people they follow. It's also introducing what it calls a "quality filter" that it says can improve the quality of tweets users see. Twitter says the feature will filter out duplicate tweets or content that appears to be automated.

The announcement from San Francisco-based Twitter comes a month after "Saturday Night Live" and "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones publicly called on Twitter to do more to curb harassment on the platform. Twitter banned one user in response to the incident.

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Administration links $400M Iran payment to Americans' release http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160818/GZ01/160819482 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160818/GZ01/160819482 Thu, 18 Aug 2016 19:04:35 -0400 By Bradley Klapper The Associated Press By By Bradley Klapper The Associated Press WASHINGTON - The Obama administration said Thursday that a $400 million cash payment to Iran seven months ago was contingent on the release of a group of American prisoners.

It is the first time the United States has so clearly linked the two events, which critics have painted as a hostage-ransom arrangement.

State Department spokesman John Kirby repeated the administration's line that the negotiations to return the Iranian money - from a decades-old military-equipment deal with the U.S.-backed shah in the 1970s - were conducted separately from the talks to free four U.S. citizens in Iran.

However, he said the administration withheld the delivery of the cash as leverage until Iran permitted the Americans to leave the country.

Both events occurred Jan. 17, fueling suspicions from Republican lawmakers and accusations from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump of a quid pro quo that undermined America's longstanding opposition to ransom payments.

Kirby spoke a day after The Wall Street Journal reported new details of the crisscrossing planes on that day. U.S. officials wouldn't let Iran bring the cash home from a Geneva airport until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three of the freed Americans departed from Tehran, the paper reported. The fourth American left on a commercial flight.

Earlier this month, after the revelation the United States delivered the money in pallets of cash, the administration flatly denied any connection between the payment and the prisoners.

"Reports of link between prisoner release & payment to Iran are completely false," Kirby tweeted at the time.

The money came from an account used by the Iranian government to buy American military equipment in the days of the shah. The equipment was never delivered after the shah's government was overthrown in 1979 and revolutionaries took American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The two sides have wrangled over that account and numerous other financial claims ever since.

President Barack Obama has said his negotiators secured the United States a good deal on a busy diplomatic weekend that also included finalizing the seven-nation nuclear accord.

However, he and other officials have consistently denied any linkage.

"We actually had diplomatic negotiations and conversations with Iran for the first time in several decades," Obama said on Aug. 5, meaning, "Our ability to clear accounts on a number of different issues at the same time converged.

"This wasn't some nefarious deal."

The agreement was the return of the $400 million, plus an additional $1.3 billion in interest, terms that Obama described as favorable, compared to what might have been expected from a tribunal set up in The Hague to rule on pending deals between the two countries. U.S. officials have said they expected an imminent ruling on the claim, and settled with Tehran instead.

Some Iranian officials immediately linked the payment to the release of the four Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Another of the prisoners, pastor Saeed Abedini, also had linked the two events. He said that, as the prisoners waited for hours at an airport to leave Iran, a senior Iranian intelligence official informed them that their departure depended on the plane with the cash.

U.S. officials had pinned the delays on difficulties finding Rezaian's wife and mother, and ensuring they could leave Iran with him.

House and Senate Republicans have peppered the Obama administration for more details about the transaction.

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said Thursday that he sees congressional hearings "as the only way for the American people to fully know whether their tax dollars went directly to Iran's terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."

Kirk is chairman of the Senate Banking national security subcommittee. No hearing dates have been set. Congress returns from a lengthy recess after Labor Day.

The House Financial Services Committee hasn't yet decided whether to hold hearings or not. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who chairs the Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, asked the Treasury and Justice departments and the Federal Reserve last week to provide all records related to the $400 million payment, as well as the names of government officials who authorized the payment.

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Jeb Bush stumps for GOP governor hopeful in pro-Trump WV http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160816/GZ01/160819605 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160816/GZ01/160819605 Tue, 16 Aug 2016 19:48:51 -0400 By Jonathan Mattise The Associated Press By By Jonathan Mattise The Associated Press MORGANTOWN - Jeb Bush hit the campaign trail Tuesday for West Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Cole, a Donald Trump supporter in heavily pro-Trump coal country.

Bush, who has said he won't vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton for president, addressed a West Virginia business group Tuesday about fighting substance abuse, reforming the tax code, cutting regulations and overhauling the education system.

The former Florida governor's speech largely avoided commentary on Trump, a bitter rival whose attacks became personal during a crowded Republican presidential primary. Bush also headlined a Cole fundraiser Tuesday evening.

"I'd say that everybody has their right to make their choice," Bush told reporters about Trump's West Virginia popularity. "Mr. Trump has captured the support of a lot of people who don't think the system works for them."

Trump's favorability in West Virginia is hardly mirrored nationally, according to recent polling. Bush said it doesn't look like Trump is going to win, adding that the presidency is won "with your arms wide open, not by scolding people."

"We win when we have a positive, proactive, conservative message - one that's inclusive," Bush told reporters. "Repeating how bad things are over and over again can work for a while, but, to win the presidency, we need a serious 21st-century conservative agenda."

Jeb Bush, his brother, former president George W. Bush, and his father, former president George H.W. Bush, skipped the Republican National Convention.

Trump showed up in Charleston for a rally in May, supporters sporting Trump coal mine helmets standing behind him. Cole gave Trump a glowing introduction at the rally, and he's running TV ads that say he "stands with Donald Trump" because of his support for the coal industry.

Cole faces a tough contest against Democratic billionaire businessman Jim Justice, a coal magnate himself. Justice has passed on endorsing anyone for president and is painting himself as a political outsider.

Trump has drawn praise from many coal supporters because he has promised to bring back jobs in the failing industry. He hasn't specifically said how he would do it.

Economic forecasts don't call for coal to return to dominance, regardless of whether global warming-inspired federal regulations on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants take effect. The complicating factors include cheaper natural gas, competition from other coal-producing regions and thinning central Appalachian coal seams.

Clinton badly lost West Virginia's Democratic primary after saying she was "going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business" while discussing plans to help the coalfields, including renewable-energy opportunities. She later said he made a "misstatement."

On Tuesday, Cole announced a seven-point plan to combat West Virginia's drug-abuse epidemic, including a push for mandatory minimum jail sentences for drug dealers. He said anyone caught bringing their "poison" into the state would be imprisoned for a long time.

To address prison overcrowding, then-Attorney General Eric Holder, in 2013, implemented a change so that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders without large-scale gang or cartel ties wouldn't face charges carrying mandatory minimums.

Cole's list of influential GOP visitors to West Virginia is growing. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, before becoming Trump's vice-presidential nominee, and former Texas governor Rick Perry also attended Charleston fundraisers.

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Yeager flights among hundreds canceled by Delta http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160808/GZ03/160809580 GZ03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160808/GZ03/160809580 Mon, 8 Aug 2016 07:37:26 -0400 Staff, wire reports By Staff, wire reports

Several Delta Air Lines flights at Charleston's Yeager Airport were canceled or delayed Monday, after the airline's computer systems crashed worldwide, stranding thousands of passengers on a busy travel day.

As of early Monday afternoon, Delta said it had canceled more than 450 flights. Tracking service FlightStats Inc. counted 2,000 delayed flights - about one third of the airline's entire schedule.

About 12 hours into the outage, limited flights had resumed but widespread delays and cancellations were ongoing.

At Yeager Airport, several flights were canceled or delayed, according to airport spokesman Mike Plante.

As of mid-afternoon Monday, nearly 200 people had experienced delays or cancellations at the Charleston airport.

Delta Air Lines flies from Yeager Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, where the system failure apparently began.

Two planes scheduled to leave Atlanta, arrive at Yeager Airport and then return to Atlanta on Monday were canceled as of mid-afternoon Monday, Plante said.

Another flight, scheduled to leave for Atlanta at about 7 a.m., didn't leave until about 10:30 a.m. Plante said passengers had boarded that flight at about 8:30 a.m., after Delta said it anticipated the computer system would soon be restored.

Plante said a flight scheduled for later in the afternoon was delayed until the evening, while a flight later in the evening to Atlanta was canceled. Fifty people were booked for the evening flight, he said.

A power outage at an Atlanta facility at around 2:30 a.m. local time initiated a cascading meltdown, according to the airline, which is also based in Atlanta.

A spokesman for Georgia Power told The Associated Press that the company believes a failure of Delta equipment caused the airline's power outage. He said no other customers lost power.

A Delta spokesman said he had no information on the report.

Many passengers were frustrated that they received no notice of a global disruption, discovering that they were stranded only after making it through security and seeing other passengers sleeping on the floor.

It was unclear if the airline was even able to communicate due to its technical issues, and Delta said that there may be a lag issuing accurate flight status on the company website because of the outage.

Flights that were already in the air when the outage occurred continued to their destinations, but flights on the ground remained there.

Airlines depend on huge, overlapping and complicated systems to operate flights, schedule crews and run ticketing, boarding, airport kiosks, websites and mobile phone apps. Even brief outages can snarl traffic and cause long delays.

That has afflicted airlines in the U.S. and abroad.

Last month, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights over several days after an outage that it blamed on a faulty network router.

United has suffered a series of notorious delays since it merged with Continental as the technological systems of the two airlines clashed.

Lines for British Airways at some airports have grown longer as the carrier updates its systems.

On Monday in Richmond, Virginia, Delta gate agents were writing out boarding passes by hand. In Tokyo, a dot-matrix printer was resurrected to keep track of passengers on a flight to Shanghai.

Technology that appeared to be working sometimes issued bad information. Flight-status systems, including airport screens, incorrectly showed flights on time.

"Not only are their flights delayed, but in the case of Delta the website and other places are all saying that the flights are on time because the airline has been so crippled from a technical standpoint," said Daniel Baker, CEO of tracking service FlightAware.com.

Delta issued an apology to customers and said teams were attempting to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Many passengers, like Bryan Kopsick, 20, from Richmond, were shocked that computer glitches could cause such turmoil.

"It does feel like the old days," Kopsick said. "Maybe they will let us smoke on the plane, and give us five-star meals in-flight too!"

In Las Vegas, stranded passengers were sleeping on the floor, covered in red blankets. When boarding finally began for a Minneapolis flight - the first to take off - a Delta worker urged people to find other travelers who had wandered away from the gate area, or who might be sleeping off the delays.

Word of the extensive breakdown began to spread after the airline used a Twitter account to notify customers that its IT systems were down "everywhere." Technological issues extended even to the company's website.

Tanzie Bodeen, 22, a software company intern from Beaverton, Oregon, left home at 4 a.m. to catch a flight from Minneapolis and learned about the delays only when she reached the airport and saw media trucks.

Bodeen said that passengers were taking the matter in stride. "It doesn't seem really hostile yet," she said.

The company said travelers will be entitled to a refund if the flight is cancelled or significantly delayed. Travelers on some routes can also make a one-time change to the ticket free of charge.

Yet many passengers still did not know where the rest of their day would be spent, and decisions on refunds would have to be made later.

At noon inside New York's LaGuardia Airport, Francesca Villardi still had no idea when her 11:50 a.m. flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, would depart.

The departure boards said her plane was leaving on time. She received different answers from three Delta employees, one of whom said she would be traveling to Cincinnati first. "This is not organized at all," said the 51-year-old professional organizer from Pembroke Pines, Florida.

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Pilot in deadly Texas hot air balloon crash had WV ties http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160801/GZ01/160809952 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160801/GZ01/160809952 Mon, 1 Aug 2016 17:55:08 -0400 Erin Beck By Erin Beck The pilot in the hot air balloon crash that killed 16 people in Texas on Saturday used to live in Charleston, according to locals.

Alfred "Skip" Nichols lived by himself on Connell Road, in South Hills, according to a former neighbor, Dave Thomas.

Thomas said Nichols was living in his grandmother's house about 11 or 12 years ago while his grandmother, who was sick, lived elsewhere, possibly in Florida.

Thomas, a bartender at Sam's Uptown Cafe and the Boulevard Tavern in downtown Charleston, said Nichols had a hot air balloon business while he was in Charleston. He was a regular at Sam's, Thomas said.

On Sunday, Thomas was watching television and immediately thought of Nichols when he saw news of the hot air balloon disaster.

"I was like, there's no way that could be Skip," Thomas said. "Sure enough, it was him."

Several local residents confirmed that Nichols used to live in Charleston. Some declined comment or said they didn't know him well enough to comment.

On his Facebook page, Nichols, who was 49 when he died, posted in March 2015 about a show at The Empty Glass bar and, in October 2014, about being a frequent attendee at "Mountain Stage." In another post, a friend quoted him objecting to a lack of national news coverage of the January 2014 water crisis in West Virginia.

The hot air balloon fire took place in a remote area of Texas near Lockhart, 30 miles south of Austin, Saturday morning. Everyone aboard, including Nichols, was killed.

Federal investigators say the hot air balloon hit an electrical wire.

Nichols had a long history of customer complaints against his balloon tour companies in Missouri and Illinois dating back to 1997. Customers reported to the Better Business Bureau's St. Louis office that their rides would get canceled at the last minute and their fees never refunded.

Nichols pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in St. Louis County in 1990, then twice in 2002 and again in 2010, according to online court records.

He also was convicted of a drug crime in 2000 and spent about a year-and-a-half in prison before being paroled. He was returned to prison in April 2010, after his parole was revoked because of his drunken driving conviction that year. He was paroled again in January 2012.

His ex-girlfriend, Wendy Bartch, told The Associated Press on Monday that he had been in recovery for at least four years. She said he had been working on mending his relationship with his father, with whom Nichols had had a turbulent relationship because of his drinking.

Bartch said Nichols "did not fly when he wasn't supposed to. Having other people's lives at stake was Skip's primary concern."

Authorities have not publicly named anyone killed in Saturday's crash, saying it could take a while to identify the bodies. But Nichols was identified as the pilot by his friend and roommate, Alan Lirette, who said Nichols was a good pilot.

"That's the only thing I want to talk about, is that he's a great pilot," Lirette said, speaking to the AP from a house he shared with Nichols in Kyle, Texas. "There's going to be all kinds of reports out in the press, and I want a positive image there, too."

Authorities say the balloon, which was operated by Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides, hit high-tension power lines before crashing into a pasture Saturday near Lockhart, about 60 miles northeast of San Antonio.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. Board member Robert Sumwalt said the pilot was licensed to fly the balloon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Erin Beck at erin.beck@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5163, Facebook.com/erinbeckwv or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.

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Expert to Rio athletes: 'Don't put your head under water' http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160801/GZ0113/160809978 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160801/GZ0113/160809978 Mon, 1 Aug 2016 08:00:13 -0400 By JENNY BARCHFIELD The Associated Press By By JENNY BARCHFIELD The Associated Press RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Just days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria, according to a 16-month-long study commissioned by The Associated Press.

Not only are some 1,400 athletes at risk of getting violently ill in water competitions, but the AP's tests indicate that tourists also face potentially serious health risks on the golden beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.

The AP's survey of the aquatic Olympic and Paralympic venues has revealed consistent and dangerously high levels of viruses from the pollution, a major black eye on Rio's Olympic project that has set off alarm bells among sailors, rowers and open-water swimmers.

The first results of the study published over a year ago showed viral levels at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe. At those concentrations, swimmers and athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water are almost certain to be infected with viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses and more rarely heart and brain inflammation - although whether they actually fall ill depends on a series of factors including the strength of the individual's immune system.

Since the AP released the initial results last July, athletes have been taking elaborate precautions to prevent illnesses that could potentially knock them out of the competition, including preventatively taking antibiotics, bleaching oars and donning plastic suits and gloves in a bid to limit contact with the water.

But antibiotics combat bacterial infections, not viruses. And the AP investigation found that infectious adenovirus readings - tested with cell cultures and verified with molecular biology protocols - turned up at nearly 90 percent of the test sites over 16 months of testing.

"That's a very, very, very high percentage," said Dr. Valerie Harwood, Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida. "Seeing that level of human pathogenic virus is pretty much unheard of in surface waters in the U.S. You would never, ever see these levels because we treat our waste water. You just would not see this."

While athletes take precautions, what about the 300,000-500,000 foreigners expected to descend on Rio for the Olympics? Testing at several of the city's world-famous beaches has shown that in addition to persistently high viral loads, the beaches often have levels of bacterial markers for sewage pollution that would be cause for concern abroad - and sometimes even exceed Rio state's lax water safety standards.

In light of the AP's findings, Harwood had one piece of advice for travelers to Rio: "Don't put your head under water."

Swimmers who cannot heed that advice stand to ingest water through their mouths and noses and therefore risk "getting violently ill," she said.

Danger is lurking even in the sand. Samples from the beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema revealed high levels of viruses, which recent studies have suggested can pose a health risk - particularly to babies and small children.

"Both of them have pretty high levels of infectious adenovirus," said Harwood, adding that the virus could be particularly hazardous to babies and toddlers who play in the sand.

"You know how quickly an infant can get dehydrated and have to go to the hospital," she added. "That's the scariest point to me."

Dr. Fernando Spilki, the virologist and coordinator of the molecular microbiology laboratory at Feevale University in southern Brazil whom AP commissioned to conduct the water tests, says the survey revealed no appreciable improvement in Rio's blighted waters - despite cleanup promises stretching back decades.

"Unfortunately, what we've seen throughout all this time is that there is a variation in the levels of contamination, but it fluctuates much more as a result of climactic conditions than due to any measures that may have been taken to try to remove this contamination," said Spilki, one of Brazil's most respected virologists.

The most contaminated points are the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where Olympic rowing will take place, and the Gloria Marina, the starting point for the sailing races. In March, 2015, sampling at the Lagoon revealed an astounding 1.73 billion adenoviruses per liter; this June, adenovirus readings were lower but still hair-raising at 248 million adenoviruses per liter. By comparison, in California, viral readings in the thousands per liter are enough to set off alarm bells.

Despite a project aimed at preventing raw sewage from flowing directly into the Gloria Marina through storm drains, the waters remain just as contaminated. The first sampling there, in March, 2015, showed over 26 million adenoviruses per liter; this June, over 37 million adenoviruses per liter were detected.

While local authorities including Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes have acknowledged the failure of the city's water cleanup efforts, calling it a "lost chance" and a "shame," Olympic officials continue to insist Rio's waterways will be safe for athletes and visitors. The local organizing committee did not respond to multiple requests for comment, though it has previously said bacterial testing conducted by Rio state authorities has shown the aquatic venues to be within state guidelines.

The crux of the issue lies in the different types of testing used to determine the health and safety of recreational waters.

Bacterial tests measure levels of coliforms - different types of bacteria that tend not to cause illnesses themselves but are indicators of the presence of other, potentially harmful sewage-borne pathogens such as other bacteria, viruses and protozoa that can cause cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid, among other diseases. Bacterial tests are the worldwide standard because they're cheap and easy.

But there's a growing consensus that they're not ideal for all climates, as bacteria break down quickly in tropical weather and salty marine waters. In contrast, viruses have been shown to survive for weeks, months or even years - meaning that in tropical Rio low bacterial markers can be completely out of step with high virus levels.

That disparity was borne out in the AP's testing. For instance, in June, 2016, the levels of fecal coliforms in water samples from Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches were extremely low, with just 31 and 85 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters, respectively. But still, both had alarming readings for rotavirus, the main cause of gastroenteritis globally, with 7.22 million rotaviruses per liter detected in the waters of Copacabana, while 32.7 million rotaviruses per liter were found in the waters of Ipanema Beach.

The testing also revealed alarming spikes in fecal coliform levels - the very measure the state government uses to determine the safety of Rio's recreational waters.

"If these were the reported values in the United States, let's say in California, there is definitely an indication of a problem," said Dr. Kristina Mena, a waterborne virus expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

According to California's bacterial tests standards, 400 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters is the upper limit for a beach to be considered safe for swimming. AP's tests revealed that Copacabana Beach, where the marathon and triathlon swimming are to be held and thousands of tourists are likely to take a dip, exceeded California's limit five times over 13 months of testing.

Nearby Ipanema Beach, which is not playing host to any Olympic sports but is among the city's most popular tourist spots, exceeded California standards five times over 12 months, once spiking to nearly 50 times what would be permitted in California. One of two testing spots along the beach in the Olympic hub neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca once hit more than 60 times that limit over the five months testing was conducted there.

"If we had exceedances that consistently were in the thousands like I'm seeing here, there would be a high likelihood that that beach would be put on our list of impaired water bodies," said Rik Rasmussen, manager of surface water quality standards at California's State Water Board. That would lead to water quality warnings posted on the beach, possible beach closure, and the development of a program to root out the source of the contamination, he said.

The beaches even violate Rio state's own standards, which are much less stringent than those in California, many other U.S. states and beach-loving countries such as Australia and New Zealand. In Rio, beaches are considered unfit if bacterial tests turn up more than 2,500 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters - more than six times higher than the upper limit in California. But Copacabana and Ipanema even violated those much higher limits on three separate occasions. The state environmental agency, INEA, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Rasmussen acknowledged that the higher thresholds might make sense in Rio, where sewage pollution has been a perennial problem, meaning that locals are regularly exposed to the pathogens lurking in raw waste from an early age and therefore build up immunities. But visitors are unlikely to have such immunities, putting them at risk for illnesses.

After the AP's initial report on the findings of the study in July of last year, the Olympics' adviser on health matters, the World Health Organization, said it would carry out its own viral testing in Rio's Olympic waterways. The agency later flip-flopped, finally concluding that bacterial tests alone would suffice.

Athletes who have trained years for a chance at Olympic glory have resigned themselves to competing in the filth.

"There's been a lot of talk about how dirty the water is and all the viruses," said Finnish team sailor Noora Ruskola. "I'm mentally prepared for this. Some days the water is totally OK, and some days there are bad days."

However, tourists are unlikely to realize the dangers: Water quality warning signs used to dot showcase beaches, but they're no longer there. Now, a brief item on the weather page of the local paper lists which beaches the state environmental agency has deemed safe for swimming.

Most beach-going visitors are likely in the same situation as Raul Onetto, a 52-year-old bank executive from Uruguay recently soaking up the sun on Copacabana Beach.

When asked whether he knew that the bacterial levels sometimes exceeded the norms in other countries and could indicate problems, he expressed disbelief.

"The water looks beautiful. I didn't know it was dirty," said Onetto. "If it's dirty, the public should know it. I came 2,000 kilometers to be on a beach."

In Rio, the main tourist gateway to the country, a centuries-long sewage problem that was part of Brazil's colonial legacy has spiked in recent decades in tandem with the rural exodus that saw the metropolitan area nearly double in size since 1970.

Even in the city's wealthy areas, sewage treatment has lagged dramatically behind, with so-called "black tongues" of fetid, sewage-filled water common even on the tony Ipanema and Leblon Beaches. The lagoons in the fast-growing Barra da Tijuca region have been filled with so much sewage dumped by nearby glass-and-steel residential towers that vast islands of sludge emerge from the filthy waters during low tide. That lagoon system, which hugs the Olympic Park and Athletes' Village, regularly sees massive pollution-related fish die-offs and emits an eye-watering sulfuric stench.

Promises to clean up Rio's waterways stretch back decades, with a succession of governors setting firm dates for a cleanup and repeatedly pushing them back. In the city's 2009 Olympic bid document, authorities pledged the games would "regenerate Rio's magnificent waterways." A promised billion-dollar investment in cleanup programs was meant to be among the games' most important legacies.

Once more, the lofty promises have ended in failure.

Just over a month before the games, biologist Mario Moscatelli spent more than two hours flying over Rio in a helicopter, as he's done on a monthly basis for the past 20 years.

Viewed from above, Rio's sewage problem is as starkly visible as on the spreadsheets of the AP analysis: Rivers are tar-black; the lagoons near the Olympic Park bloom with fluorescent green algae that thrives amid sewage; fishermen's wooden boats sink into thick sludge in the Guanabara Bay; surfers paddle amid a giant brown stain that contrasts with the azure of the surrounding waters.

"It's been decades and I see no improvement," laments Moscatelli, an activist who's the most visible face of the fight to clean up Rio's waterways. "The Guanabara Bay has been transformed into a latrine ... and unfortunately Rio de Janeiro missed the opportunity, maybe the last big opportunity" to clean it up.

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Clinton accuses Trump of 'degrading comments about Muslims' http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160731/GZ0113/160739915 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160731/GZ0113/160739915 Sun, 31 Jul 2016 21:07:43 -0400 By Lisa Lerer and Jonathan Lemire The Associated Press By By Lisa Lerer and Jonathan Lemire The Associated Press ASHLAND, Ohio - Hillary Clinton said Sunday that Donald Trump repaid the "ultimate sacrifice" of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq with insults and degrading comments about Muslims, as the soldier's bereaved father pressured Republican Party leaders to distance themselves from the GOP presidential nominee.

Clinton's comments came after Trump refused to back down from his criticism of the Gold Star parents' remarks.

"Am I not allowed to respond?" Trump had tweeted. "Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!"

It was the latest bitter rhetorical volley between the defiant Republican candidate, Clinton and the family of a fallen soldier since the two parties concluded their major conventions last week and the nation looked ahead to a close election this November.

Trump's stand has once again left Republican leaders facing demands to denounce their party nominee and overshadowed Clinton's campaign message with controversy.

"He is a black soul," said Khizr Khan, whose son Humayun received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed in Iraq in 2004. "And this is totally unfit for the leadership of this beautiful country."

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," he said, "It is majority leader's and speaker's moral, ethical obligation to not worry about the votes, but repudiate him, withdraw the support."

Likewise, Clinton told Republicans on Sunday: "This is a time to pick country over party."

In statements released Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan condemned any criticism of Muslim Americans who serve their country and rejected the idea of a Muslim travel ban - an idea proposed by Trump earlier in the campaign. But neither statement mentioned Trump by name or repudiated him.

McConnell praised Capt. Khan as an "American hero," while Ryan noted that many Muslim Americans have served "valiantly" in the U.S. military.

"Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice - and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan - should always be honored. Period," Ryan said.

Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, issued a blistering statement of his own, saying anything short of revoking their endorsements of Trump was "cowardice" on the part of McConnell and Ryan.

"This shouldn't be hard," Reid said. "Donald Trump is a sexist and racist man who insults Gold Star parents, stokes fear of Muslims and sows hatred of Latinos. He should not be president and Republican leaders have a moral responsibility to say so."

On a post-convention bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, Clinton said Trump has a "total misunderstanding" of American values and has inflamed divisions in American society.

"I don't know where the boundaries are. I don't know where the bottom is," she told reporters during a campaign stop in Ohio.

"I do tremble before those who would scapegoat other Americans," she told parishioners in a Cleveland church on Sunday morning. "That's just not how I was raised."

At last week's Democratic National Convention, Pakistan-born Khan told his son's story and questioned whether Trump had ever read the Constitution and said "you have sacrificed nothing."

During the speech, Khan's wife, Ghazala, stood quietly by his side.

"If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say," Trump said, in an interview with ABC's "This Week."

Ghazala Khan responded Sunday in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post, saying talking about her son's death 12 years ago is still hard for her. When her husband asked if she wanted to speak at the convention, she said she could not.

"When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant," she wrote.

At one point, Trump had disputed Khan's criticism that the billionaire businessman has "sacrificed nothing and no one" for his country.

"I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures," Trump said.

Trump, who had no campaign events scheduled this weekend, released a statement late Saturday night calling Humayun Khan "a hero" but disputing his father's characterization.

"While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things," said Trump.

Trump's rebuke was unusual in the world of politics where officials only speak well of families whose loved ones die in service to their country. When Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq, staged prolonged protests on the war, then-President George W. Bush responded by saying that the nation grieves every death.

When asked about the mother of a State Department official killed in Benghazi, Libya, who blamed Hillary Clinton for her son's death, Clinton told "Fox News Sunday" that her "heart goes out" to the families and that she didn't "hold any ill feeling for someone" who has lost a child and recalls events differently.

Across the country, veterans and their families closely watched the political back-and-forth.

"It was inappropriate on both sides," said Mark Farner of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, as he stood a few feet from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. "For one to use it as it as the Democrats intended it to be used, and I don't think Trump handled it the way he should have on his end."

Farner had just made a rubbing of the name of his cousin, Calvin Wilson, who was killed in action in February 1967.

Romell Short of Washington, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, said he has no problem with veterans' families being politically active and speaking about their experiences.

"America should know the suffering and the cost of war and part of that is the sacrifice of American troops and the sacrifice of American families," Short said.

But he cautioned that the views of families should be read separately from their family member who served.

Associated Press writer Chad Day in Washington contributed to this report.

On Twitter follow Lisa Lerer at http://twitter.com/llerer

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Police: 1 San Diego cop killed, another wounded in shooting http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160729/GZ0113/160729502 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160729/GZ0113/160729502 Fri, 29 Jul 2016 08:02:27 -0400 The Associated Press By The Associated Press SAN DIEGO (AP) - One police officer died and another was wounded after being shot in a San Diego neighborhood, authorities said early Friday.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in a Twitter post that she had left the hospital where the wounded officer had come out of surgery and that he's expected to survive.

The names of the officers have not been released.

There was no immediate word on what touched off the violence, which occurred about 11 p.m. PDT Thursday in the southeastern part of city.

Police searched the area for suspects and urged residents to stay indoors.

Video footage showed officers out in force with numerous squad cars with emergency lights flashing lining a street, officers on foot and a helicopter buzzing overhead.

Police spokesmen did not return calls for further comment, but the department said in a Twitter posting that one suspect was in custody and other suspects were being sought.

The shooting comes with law officers around the country on alert after the killing of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge earlier this month.

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Sandy Hook school opening to public, 4 years after massacre http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160729/GZ0113/160729504 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160729/GZ0113/160729504 Fri, 29 Jul 2016 06:19:21 -0400 By PAT EATON-ROBB The Associated Press By By PAT EATON-ROBB The Associated Press NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - When the public gets its first glimpse Friday of the school built to replace the one where 20 first-graders and six educators were massacred, they'll see a building designed to be attractive, environmentally friendly, conducive to learning, and above all, safe.

The old Sandy Hook Elementary School was torn down after the gunman's rampage in December 2012. The new $50 million, 86,000-square-foot school was built on the same property but not in the old footprint, and is scheduled to open next month. A media tour will precede a public open house on Friday.

Local officials hope that allowing everyone a look at the school this week will give students a "quiet, respectful, and appropriate opening as teachers and students return to the new school year," on Aug. 29, Superintendent Joseph Erardi said.

The new school, funded by a state grant, has safety features such as impact-resistant windows and state-of-the-art video monitoring. Its ground floor is elevated, making it harder to see inside classrooms from the outside. It has been landscaped to ensure anyone approaching the school is visible to those inside and can enter via one of three pedestrian bridges that cross the landscaping.

It has been built to invoke nature, with treehouses and courtyards.

The driveway and parking lots also have been changed, to minimize the emotional impact on students and educators seeing the property for the first time since the shooting.

"Our goal was to create a place of community and learning, a place that would honor those we lost and allow those who were left behind the chance to move forward," First Selectman Pat Llodra said in a statement.

Sandy Hook students have been attending school in neighboring Monroe, which renovated a previously closed elementary school for the Newtown children after the shooting. The new school will serve students from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade.

There will be about 390 students enrolled this fall, and 70 of those, all now fourth-graders, were students at the old school when the shooting occurred, Erardi said. Only about 30 of them were in the building at the time, he said, attending the morning kindergarten session.

None of them witnessed the shootings, which were heard throughout the school, prompting students to hide where they could in their classrooms until the building was cleared by police. The shooting occurred before the afternoon kindergarten session.

Because of retirements and transfers, only about half the staff members from the original Sandy Hook are still with the school, he said.

The district will provide those students and staff with special resources to help cope with the return, Erardi said.

A three-year, $7.1 million grant to fund added mental health professionals has expired. But grants from charities will cover those costs, he said.

It will not have a prominent memorial to the Sandy Hook victims, and Erardi declined to say whether they will be remembered in some other way.

"I'm going to pass on answering that," he said, "because it involves the conversations I've had with the impacted families and those will always remain confidential.

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Clinton: "Progress is possible" http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160728/GZ01/160729506 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160728/GZ01/160729506 Thu, 28 Jul 2016 23:10:20 -0400 By JULIE PACE and ROBERT FURLOW Associated Press By By JULIE PACE and ROBERT FURLOW Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Promising Americans a steady hand, Hillary Clinton cast herself Thursday night as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world. She aggressively challenged Republican Donald Trump's ability to do the same.

"Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis," Clinton said as she accepted the Democratic nomination for president. "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

Clinton took the stage to roaring applause from flag-waving delegates on the final night of the Democratic convention, relishing her nomination as the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party. But her real audience was the millions of voters watching at home, many of whom may welcome her experience as secretary of state senator and first lady, but question her character.

She acknowledged those concerns briefly, saying "I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me." But her primary focus was persuading Americans to not be seduced by Trump's vague promises to restore economic security and fend off threats from abroad.

"I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we'll ever pull together again," Clinton said as she accepted the Democratic nomination, becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party. "But I'm here to tell you tonight - progress is possible."

Clinton's four-day convention began with efforts to shore up liberals who backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and it ended with an outstretched hand to Republicans and independents unnerved by Trump. A parade of military leaders, law enforcement officials and Republicans took the stage ahead of Clinton to endorse her in the general election contest with Trump.

"This is the moment, this is the opportunity for our future," said retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen, a former commander in Afghanistan. "We must seize this moment to elect Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America."

American flags waved in the stands of the packed convention hall. There were persistent but scattered calls of "No more war," but the crowd drowned them out with chants of "Hill-a-ry" and "U-S-A!"

The Democratic nomination now officially hers, Clinton has just over three months to persuade Americans that Trump is unfit for the Oval Office and overcome the visceral connection he has with some voters in a way the Democratic nominee does not.

She embraced her reputation as a studious wonk, a politician more comfortable with policy proposals than rhetorical flourishes. "I sweat the details of policy," she said.

Clinton's proposals are an extension of President Barack Obama's two terms in office: tackling climate change, overhauling the nation's fractured immigration laws, and restricting access to guns. She disputed Trump's assertion that she wants to repeal the Second Amendment, saying "I'm not here to take away your guns. I just don't want you to be shot by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place."

Campaigning in Iowa Thursday, Trump said there were "a lot of lies being told" at Clinton's convention. In an earlier statement, he accused Democrats of living in a "fantasy world," ignoring economic and security troubles as well as Clinton's controversial email use at the State Department.

The FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private internet server didn't result in criminal charges, but it did appear to deepen voters' concerns with her honesty and trustworthiness. A separate pre-convention controversy over hacked Democratic Party emails showing favoritism for Clinton in the primary threatens to deepen the perception that Clinton prefers to play by her own rules.

Through four nights of polished convention pageantry, Democratic heavyweights told a different story about Clinton. The most powerful validation came Wednesday night from Obama, her victorious primary rival in 2008. Obama declared Clinton not only can defeat Trump's "deeply pessimistic vision" but also realize the "promise of this great nation."

Clinton was introduced by her daughter, Chelsea, who spoke warmly of her mother as a woman "driven by compassion, by faith, by kindness, a fierce sense of justice, and a heart full of love." President Bill Clinton watched from a seat on the convention floor, beaming with pride and repeatedly leaping to his feet.

Clinton was joined on stage at the end of the night by her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who addressed the convention Wednesday. Fireworks exploded inside the arena and red, white and blue balloons plunged from the arena rafters.

Clinton and Kaine head into the general election seeking support from the same coalition of voters that propelled Obama into the White House: blacks, Hispanics, women and young people. The diverse parade of speakers who took the stage in Philadelphia this week underscored that goal.

On the convention's closing night, Khizr Khan, an American Muslim whose son was killed in military service, emotionally implored voters to stop Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration.

"Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with their future," Khan said. "Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy."

The program paid tribute to law enforcement officers killed on duty, including five who died in Dallas earlier this month in retaliation for officer-involved shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.

"Violence is not the answer," Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez said. "Yelling, screaming and calling each other names is not going to do it."

Clinton sought to reach beyond the Democratic base, particularly to moderate Republicans unnerved by Trump.

Former Reagan administration official Doug Elmets announced he was casting his first vote for a Democrat in November, and urged other Republicans who "believe loyalty to our country is more important than loyalty to party" to do the same.

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AP writers Catherine Lucey, Kathleen Hennessey and Lisa Lerer contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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Report: Shooting deaths of law enforcement spike in 2016 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160727/GZ0113/160729619 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160727/GZ0113/160729619 Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:58:46 -0400 By REBECCA SANTANA The Associated Press By By REBECCA SANTANA The Associated Press NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Shooting deaths of law enforcement officers spiked 78 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to last year, including an alarming increase in ambush-style assaults like the ones that killed eight officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, according to a report released Wednesday.

However, data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund shows that firearms-related deaths of officers in the line of duty are still lower than they were during previous decades like the 1970s.

Thirty-two officers died in firearms-related incidents so far this year including 14 that were ambush-style attacks, according to the report. During the same period last year, 18 officers were shot and killed in the line of duty including three that were considered ambush attacks.

"That's a very alarming, shocking increase in the number of officers who are being literally assassinated because of the uniform they wear and the job that they do," said Craig W. Floyd, who heads the organization.

The organization usually releases a mid-year report tracking incidents for the first six months but decided to extend the period due to the July attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge against police officers. So the report goes from the beginning of January to July 20 and compares it to the same period last year. On their website, the organization also keeps a running tally of officers who died in the line of duty. Those figures through July 26 show that 33 officers have been shot and killed so far this year.

The report comes at a time of heightened tension between communities across the country and police officers. Two police officers and one sheriff's deputy were shot and killed during an ambush on July 17 in Baton Rouge by a black gunman who was later killed by responding officers. In Dallas, a black gunman opened fire on police during a July 7 protest against recent police shootings of black suspects; the gunman killed five officers before being killed by authorities.

A total of 67 officers have died in the line of duty so far in 2016, according to the report. That figure also includes officers who died in traffic accidents, fatal falls or airplane crashes.

Texas leads the nation in the number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty with 14 deaths so far this year, including the five recent slayings in Dallas. Louisiana, where three officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge, ranked second with a total of seven officers who died in the line of duty.

Despite the recent high-profile shootings of police, the average number of officers shot and killed on the job is significantly lower than in previous decades. Floyd said during the 1970s, there was an average of 127 officers shot and killed yearly; during the last ten years through 2015, the average number shot and killed is 52. He cited the reduction in violent crime in recent decades and said officers have benefited from the widespread introduction of body armor and improved trauma care if they do get shot.

But he noted a worrying increase in recent years in anti-police and anti-government sentiment.

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Bill Clinton tells a love story to make his case for Hillary http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160727/GZ0113/160729620 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160727/GZ0113/160729620 Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:56:18 -0400 By LISA LERER The Associated Press By By LISA LERER The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) - There have been millions of words, decades of video and reams of commentary devoted to their story. It's been dissected, defended and decried at kitchen tables and on cable news, in tabloids and classrooms.

But on Tuesday night, as millions of voters watched and with the political stakes as high as they've ever been, Bill Clinton tried to make sense of it all and make the case for his wife, the newly minted Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

"In the spring of 1971, I met a girl," he began.

The former president's tenth address to a Democratic convention was by far his most personal, a 42-minute tour through wedding proposals and Halloween parties, the deaths of parents and movie marathons.

Perhaps their worst moments - the Monica Lewinsky scandal, impeachment and legal battles that followed - were conspicuously omitted.

Instead, Bill Clinton cast himself as a passenger in his wife's life, reshaping the story of much of their decades in politics.

The goal was to make Clinton, perhaps the most famous female politician in the world, yet a public figure her aides claim remains unknown, relatable to voters. He cast her as a liberal heroine of her own story, who fought for education reform, health care, civil rights, the disabled, 9/11 first responders and economically depressed rural areas.

"She's the best darn change-maker I've ever met in my entire life," he said. "This woman has never been satisfied with the status quo on anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is."

He never once mentioned GOP nominee Donald Trump by name, dismissing Republican attacks on Clinton as "made up" and a "cartoon alternative." Rather, Bill Clinton focused nearly exclusively on his wife's achievements and how she'd influenced him.

"I have lived a long full blessed life. It really took off when I met and fell in love with that girl in the spring of 1971," he said.

But it wasn't only Clinton who broke a glass ceiling on Tuesday when she became the first female nominee of a major party. Should she win on Election Day, her husband will step into a singular role in American history: first gentleman.

The potential new title is perhaps the strangest twist in a political career known for its second acts. After health scares and political missteps, the Comeback Kid, as he was known in his first presidential race, could come back to Washington one last time.

In 2012, he acted as a powerful validator for President Barack Obama, electrifying the room as the party's "explainer-in-chief."

But, said Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, "This is different."

"This is more personal," said Podesta, who recalled riding to the convention hall with Bill Clinton as he touched up his 2004 convention address. "This is more about her."

Bill Clinton felt pressure to perform for his wife and make up for his own missteps during her second presidential campaign.

Nearly 70, he's also a bit frailer, a touch shakier, though aides and friends say his famous memory remains sharp. Some say his administration's legacy has been repudiated by his own party, which shifted left during Obama's time in office.

"God bless him, Bill even looks old now," said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos. "He's not the once and future king, he's the once and past king."

But no one doubts that Bill Clinton still wants to be at the center of the action. While aides have said he will not get a Cabinet post or a seat in the Situation Room should his wife win, Clinton has made clear that her closest adviser will remain involved with her administration, saying he'd likely have a role in managing the nation's economy.

They remain a "two for one" package, as Bill Clinton famously said during his first presidential race. But on Tuesday night, he hinted, just barely, that Clinton perhaps is finally getting her part of the deal.

"I married my best friend," he said. "And I really hoped that she choosing me and rejecting my own advice to pursue her own career was a decision she'd never regret."

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Clinton wins historic nomination, says glass ceiling cracked http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160726/GZ01/160729635 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160726/GZ01/160729635 Tue, 26 Jul 2016 19:00:19 -0400 By Julie Pace and Catherine Lucey The Associated Press By By Julie Pace and Catherine Lucey The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Taking on the role of devoted political spouse, former President Bill Clinton declared his wife Hillary Clinton an impassioned "change-maker" as he served as character witness on the night she triumphantly became the first woman nominated for president.

She put an electrifying cap on the night, appearing by video from New York and declaring, "We just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet."

Minutes earlier, the former president said, "She's been worth every single year she's put into making people's lives better." First lady for his presidency, she's now the Democratic Party's standard-bearer in the race for the White House.

For a man more accustomed to delivering policy-packed stem-winders, Clinton's deeply personal address underscored the historic night for Democrats, and the nation. If she wins in November, the Clintons would also be the first married couple to each serve as president.

She will take on Donald Trump, who won the Republican nomination a week ago. Trump, who campaigned Tuesday in North Carolina, mocked the former president's speech in advance, calling him "over-rated."

At Trump's convention last week, Clinton was the target of blistering criticism of her character and judgment, a sharp contrast to the warm and passionate woman described by her husband. Seeking to explain the vastly different perceptions of his wife, Clinton said simply, "One is real, the other is made up."

The former president traced his relationship with his wife back decades, recalling in great detail the first time he spotted her on a law school campus and the impact she had on pushing him into politics. He took voters back to a time when their relationship wasn't the subject of intense public scrutiny, including during his affair that led to his impeachment as president.

Clinton closed the second night of the Democratic convention, a jubilant celebration of Hillary Clinton's formal nomination for president. In an important move for party unity, her primary rival Bernie Sanders helped make it official when the roll call got to his home state of Vermont, prompting delegates to erupt in cheers. It was a striking parallel to the role Clinton played eight years ago when she stepped to the microphone on the convention floor in Denver in support of her former rival, Barack Obama.

This time, Clinton shattered the glass ceiling she couldn't crack in 2008.

She leads a party still grappling with divisions. Moments after Clinton claimed the nomination, a group of Sanders supporters left the convention and headed to a media tent to protest what they said was their being shut out of the party. At the same time, protesters who had spent the day marching in the hot sun began facing off with police.

Trump cheered the disruptions from the campaign trail. In North Carolina, he told a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that, "our politicians have totally failed you."

Indeed, Clinton's long political resume - secretary of state, senator, first lady - has sometimes seemed an odd fit for an electorate deeply frustrated with Washington and eager to rally around unconventional candidates like Trump and Sanders. Many voters have questions about her character and trustworthiness, suggesting she's used her access to power to her personal advantage.

President Clinton spoke after three hours of testimonials from lawmakers, advocates, celebrities and citizens who argued otherwise. Each took the stage to vouch for her commitment to working on health care, children's issues and gun control.

"Hillary Clinton has the passion and understanding to support grieving mothers," said Sybrina Fulton, whose son Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012. "She has the courage to lead the fight for commonsense gun legislation."

The significant time devoted to the testimonials underscored the campaign's concerns about how voters view Clinton. Public polls consistently show that a majority of Americans don't believe she is honest and trustworthy. That perception that was reinforced after the FBI director's scathing assessment of her controversial email use as secretary of state, even though the Justice Department did not pursue charges.

President Clinton complicated the email controversy last month when he met privately with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the midst of the FBI investigation. Republicans cast the meeting as a sign that the Clintons play by different rules, while Democrats bemoaned that at the very least, it left that impression.

The former president has campaigned frequently for his wife during the White House race, but mostly in smaller cities and towns, part of an effort by the campaign to keep him in a more behind-the-scenes role. His convention address was his highest profile appearance of the campaign.

Clinton's landmark achievement saturated the roll call with emotion and symbols of women's long struggle to break through political barriers. Jerry Emmett, a 102-year-old woman born before women had the right to vote, cast the ballots for Arizona.

Martha McKenna, a Clinton delegate from Maryland, said the night felt like a celebration for Sanders' campaign as well as Clinton's. She added, "The idea that I'm going to be here when the first woman president is nominated is overwhelming."

The Democratic convention drew the party's biggest stars to sweltering Philadelphia for the week-long event. On Monday night, first lady Michelle Obama made an impassioned case for Clinton as the only candidate in the presidential race worthy of being a role model for the nation's children. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will speak Wednesday, along with Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton's new running mate.

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AP writers Kathleen Hennessey, Kathleen Ronayne, Ken Thomas and Matthew Daly in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC and Catherine Lucey at http://twitter.com/catherine_lucey

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Sanders supporters: Unmoved by plea to support Clinton http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160726/GZ0113/160729671 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160726/GZ0113/160729671 Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:40:18 -0400 By GEOFF MULVIHILL and MEGAN TRIMBLE The Associated Press By By GEOFF MULVIHILL and MEGAN TRIMBLE The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Undeterred by Sen. Bernie Sanders' plea for party unity behind Hillary Clinton, Sanders supporters chanting "Bernie or bust!" took to the streets under the hot sun Tuesday for more demonstrations on Day 2 of the Democratic convention.

Several hundred gathered around noon in a rally at City Hall with plans to join up in the afternoon with groups decrying police brutality and economic injustice. Together they planned to march the 4 miles down Broad Street to the convention site.

Speakers at the rally charged that Clinton cheated her way to the nomination with the complicity of the "corporate media."

Demonstrators said they weren't swayed by Sanders' speech at the convention Monday night, in which he said: "Based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close."

"He persuaded no one to vote for Hillary," said Greg Gregg, a retired 69-year-old nurse from Salem, Oregon. He said he intends to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, quoting the turn-of-the-last-century socialist labor leader Eugene Debs as saying, "I'd rather vote for what I want and lose than what I don't want and win."

On Monday evening, police cited 54 people for disorderly conduct for trying to climb the barriers outside the convention center during a pro-Sanders protest that reflected the tensions inside the hall between the Vermont senator's supporters and Clinton's.

The Sanders camp was angered when a trove of hacked emails released over the weekend showed that officials at the supposedly neutral Democratic National Committee played favorites during the primaries and worked to undermine Sanders' campaign.

Black Men for Bernie founder Bruce Carter said Monday's speeches from Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren did not persuade him to support Clinton.

"They really agitate people more every time they stand up and do the Hillary Clinton, hoo-rah hoo-rah," he said. Carter, a Dallas resident, said he doesn't fear a Donald Trump presidency: "I've lived under nine white presidents in my lifetime."

With temperatures climbing again toward the mid-90s, Chris Scully, a 28-year-old an engineer from Troy, New York, held a "Jill Before Hill" outside City Hall and said he opposes Clinton because of her war record as secretary of state.

As Scully spoke, a passer-by called out: "That's a vote for Trump!"

Police estimated 5,500 people took part in Monday's protests. Many of the marchers chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, the DNC has got to go!" and carried signs reading "Never Hillary," "Just Go to Jail Hillary" and "You Lost Me at Hillary."

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History and hostility as Clinton ascends to nomination http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160726/GZ0113/160729688 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160726/GZ0113/160729688 Tue, 26 Jul 2016 07:22:29 -0400 By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY and CALVIN WOODWARD The Associated Press By By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY and CALVIN WOODWARD The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A glass ceiling is shattering at the Democratic National Convention as Hillary Clinton ascends to the presidential nomination with Tuesday's roll call of the states, making her the first woman to lead a major party into a White House race.

But as history is being made, hostility is being heard, too. Rhetorically, at least, die-hard Bernie Sanders' supporters also are breaking some glass, loudly protesting his treatment by the party and still cold to Clinton even as Sanders appeals for Democrats to unify and defeat Republican Donald Trump, "a bully and a demagogue."

What was expected to be a tightly orchestrated convention, run with all the professionalism and experience that were lacking at Trump's often-chaotic affair in Ohio, instead showed its rough edges in the early going, starting with chants of "Bernie" during the opening invocation and boos at numerous mentions of Clinton's name.

First lady Michelle Obama gave a heartfelt endorsement of the candidate who engaged her husband in a fierce struggle for the nomination in 2008. "I trust Hillary to lead this country," she said in a speech that provided a parent's-eye view of the White House and its power.

Liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts, and Sanders himself also gave the party something to cheer about Monday night.

While Mrs. Obama has often avoided overt politics, her frustration with Trump's rise was evident. Without naming him, she warned that the White House couldn't be in the hands of someone with "a thin skin or a tendency to lash out" or someone who tells voters the country can be great again. "This right now, is the greatest country on earth," she said.

Sanders took the stage to a sustained roar and shouts of "We love you, Bernie." Some of his supporters were in tears.

While asserting "our revolution continues," the Vermont senator implored his restive followers to get behind Clinton. On issues of poverty, immigration, environmental protection and more, he said, Clinton's election counts. "If you don't believe that this election is important," he said, "take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate."

Democrats made a pronounced effort to showcase their diversity, salting the lineup from the stage with black, Hispanic, gay and disabled speakers in an obvious counterpoint to Trump and the various groups he has upset with his remarks.

The convention opened in a dustup over leaked emails showing the party's pro-Clinton, anti-Sanders slant during the primaries, when it was supposed to be neutral. In the uproar, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida went swiftly into exile, first giving up her position, then the convention's opening-day gavel after being roundly booed by Sanders partisans at a meeting of her home-state delegation.

Sanders delegate Gian Carlo Espinosa, 29, of Key West, Florida, said he would not abandon protests, as Sanders urged. "Why else are we here?" he asked. "The people that we're representing are displeasured with the party. We have to get that across somehow." This, despite Sanders telling his backers in an email and text message: "Our credibility as a movement will be damaged by booing, turning of backs, walking out or other similar displays."

In roasting heat, spirited protests unfolded outside, another echo of the Republican convention in Cleveland. Several hundred Sanders backers marched down Philadelphia streets, with signs saying "Never Hillary." One said, "Just go to jail, Hillary," a takeoff on cries at the Republican convention to "lock her up."

Nevertheless, Clinton was firmly on track to write the next chapter of a story that left off in 2008, when she conceded the Democratic presidential race to Barack Obama in a speech that lamented "we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time," but added proudly, "it's got about 18 million cracks in it," a tally of her primary votes.

The roll call, when each state announces its delegate totals from the primary season, will affirm a nomination Clinton locked up weeks ago. One question of the day was whether Sanders would press for a count by all the states, as his delegates want, or interrupt the process to ask that her nomination be approved by acclamation. That's what Clinton did on Obama's behalf in 2008 to indicate their rivalry was truly over.

Clinton promised an uplifting counterpoint to Trump's dark portrayal of the state of the nation, but the fallout from some 19,000 leaked Democratic National Committee emails threatened to complicate those plans.

Michael Buratowski, an analyst with the cybersecurity firm the Democrats employed, said he found evidence of Russian involvement, such as the use of a Russian-language keyboard and time-offs that coincided with Russian business hours in what he described as an attack too sophisticated to be the work of freelance hackers. The hackers took at least a year's worth of detailed chats, emails and research on Trump, according to a person knowledgeable of the breach who wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

As the convention began, the DNC released a statement apologizing to Sanders and his supporters "for the inexcusable remarks made over email."

The statement was signed by DNC leaders, though Wasserman Schultz's name was notably absent.

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